[rfc-i] Data point [Re: Fwd:I-D ACTION:draft-hoffman-utf8-rfcs-03.txt]

Joe Touch touch at ISI.EDU
Tue Oct 7 08:05:26 PDT 2008

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Tim Bray wrote:
> On Tue, Oct 7, 2008 at 6:56 AM, Joe Touch <touch at isi.edu> wrote:
>> So UTF-8 is modern, and FF is outdated. So how do we maintain page
>> boundaries in our output other than using PDF/PS?
>> I.e., we have some requirements, but it seems like page boundary
>> maintenance is getting tossed out the window...
> For those of us who prefer to consume information via a browser (a
> large and increasing proportion of the world's population), the
> existing page-oriented structure of RFCs worsens the experience.

Citing page numbers - in addition to section numbers - is useful in
pointing people at specific document locations. Keep in mind that the
"printable" version is the normative and archival version.

> Should we want a hardcopy printout, if we're in HTML, the computer
> (Mac, PC, or *n*x) takes care of pagination for us in a fashion that
> works well given the combination of typefaces, printer hardware, and
> so on, producing output that uses traditional typesetting values to
> maximize readability.
> So, an HTML version without page breaks provides high utility for us
> browser-oriented people, while the traditional fixed-format ASCII is
> irritating to read and difficult to print.

HTML-ized output is something that can be generated from a variety of
formats - e.g., xml2rfc, my Word template, etc.

> The traditional fixed-format ASCII provides high utility for... um,
> who was that again?

It's archival. As in "in 40 years we will still be able to read and
print it". We don't have that info for HTML.

> Anyhow, at the moment all we're arguing about is including non-ASCII
> characters in a few highly constrained places without abandoning the
> traditional format.

My point is that UTF-8 does not achieve that goal; by allowing non-ASCII
in names and addresses, it destroys the current page boundary marker,
and does not appear to provide an alternative.

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